Two years after it was launched with just five members, the tri-county region’s Parkinson’s support group held its first SuperWalk in Yarmouth, an event that drew about 60 people, and among those caught off guard by the good turnout was Jackie Landry, who founded the tri-county group in the fall of 2016.
The SuperWalk is a national fundraiser for Parkinson Canada, with walks held across the country.
“I was humbled by the response,” she said. “We had such a wonderful response. We had people stop in and take pictures and little kids with capes running around ... It was fun and family-oriented. We had music playing, cake. It was an amazing event.”
When she mentioned children in capes, Landry was referring to the theme of the walk: Everyday Heroes, Extraordinary Hope. The idea was to show that people who have Parkinson’s are normal folks dealing with what is often an invisible disease.
“Yes, (SuperWalk) is to raise funds for a cure,” Landry said, “but it’s also to raise funds for therapies and to bring advocacy and education and awareness to a disease that’s very hidden.”
Landry is a national and provincial ambassador for Parkinson Canada and the head facilitator for the tri-county support group. The group includes people with Parkinson’s and caregivers.
The fundraising total for the Yarmouth SuperWalk had yet to be finalized, but Landry said they did very well, considering this is a relatively small area.
That the tri-county group even had a SuperWalk was noteworthy, she said, given that groups tend to be older and more well-established before organizing a walk of their own.
The turnout for the Yarmouth event was evidence of how the tri-county group has come a long way compared to October 2016, when it started with less than a half-dozen members.
“It’s grown considerably and it continues to grow,” Landry said.
The group meets the last Thursday of the month in the Sobeys community room in Yarmouth. The sessions are held from 4 to 5 p.m.
Landry says planning for next year’s SuperWalk will begin in January.